Five hundred miles. That’s a pretty significant distance, right? Now, imagine swimming that far.
That’s how many river miles will re-opened to native steelhead in the Klamath River under the terms of a revised agreement between the federal government, the states of California and Oregon, and the utility company PacifiCorp.
The amended Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement, and the Klamath Power and Facilities Agreement were signed today at the mouth of the Klamath River by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr., of California, Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon and PacifiCorp CEO Stefan Bird.
Under the new-and-improved KHSA, four old, unproductive hydropower dams on the Klamath River will be removed beginning in the year 2020. This action will open up 500 miles of habitat for steelhead and some 420 miles for salmon.
In the fall of 2015, TU completed a major habitat improvement on the famed Little Truckee River. Dave Lass, TU’s California Field Director, managed this project in partnership with the Tahoe National Forest, while the Truckee River TU Chapter provided volunteer labor and other support over the three years it required to complete.
The Little Truckee, or LT, was already one of the finest wild trout streams in the West—now, thanks to the vision and persistence of Lass and the “Tahoe Trout Bums,” the 3.5 miles of stream between Stampede and Boca reservoirs should have more fish, in a lot more places.
You don’t need to be a stream ecologist to figure out that streams with little or no water make it pretty much impossible to survive if you’re a juvenile steelhead.
While the current drought (now in its fifth year in California) has spurred new efforts to address impacts on coho and steelhead, TU has been working on strategies and projects to improve flow for fish on the central coast well before this drought settled in.
We have helped install off-stream water storage ponds on Russian River tributaries, re-plumbed farms in the San Gregorio Creek drainage to improve water supply management, developed conjunctive use projects along Pescadero Creek, and placed storage tanks for residential use on Little Arthur Creek (Pajaro River).
What is the more satisfying fishing experience, trout or bass? More than 300 anglers battled over this past weekend in the fourth annual Sycamore Island Fishing Derby on the San Joaquin River to settle the debate.
The field of competition was three old quarry pits, now filled with water and managed as a unique fishing resource by the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust.
In the end, there was no decisive winner in this debate. There were, however, eight winners of prizes for largest fish (both trout and bass) in Youth and Adult categories.
California’s historic drought, now in its fifth year, has been hard on fish and wildlife. Communities, water districts, and state agencies have taken steps to help keep more water in streams and wetlands for at-risk species such as salmon and steelhead.
In the big picture, developing a coherent, durable, and affordable response to drought—one that helps improve water use efficiency as climate change makes many areas of the West hotter and drier and water supplies are squeezed even further—requires vision and the resources to facilitate real change in behavior and expectations. Only the federal government has the capacity to do this at scale.
As many of you know by now, Bill Templin (currently secretary of TU’s California Council) is the Energizer Bunny of camo conservationists. He just “gets ‘er done,” not only for Friends of the South Fork Kings River and TU but also for about a dozen other sportsmen’s groups and outdoor causes. One of Bill’s primary interests is protecting and sustaining the wild trout fishery of the South Fork Kings River. At the TU-CA Council meeting in Healdsburg in November, I suggested to Bill that he write up a brief anecdote about the SF Kings and what fuels his commitment to that particular fishery. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised when Bill delivered a treatise on his history with the river, as well as some remarkable old photos. I’m sure his story will resonate with all of you, as it did with me, recalling those special places where we first made that connection with the Great Outdoors. Check it out: http://www.tu.org/blog-posts/lifelong-love-affair .
Wishing y’all a happy Friday as we head into the heart of the Holiday season.
As many of you know, TU is a founding member of the Russian River Coho Water Resources Partnership, which just received a Water Quality Stewardship Award from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board "for...efforts to address low flow conditions impacting salmon and steelhead in critical Russian River tributaries during the drought of 2015."
Please join me in congratulating our Water Team, led by Mary Ann King, for their fine work in support of the Voluntary Drought Initiative in the Russian River watershed!
There will be a Trout Unlimited of California State Council Meeting on Nov. 7, 2015. This is our end-of-year meeting and elections will be held for Executive Council positions of Chairman, Vice Chairman, Tresurer and National Leadership Council Represenative ( NLC Rep)
The meeting will be held in the Sonoma Land Trust building located at 822 5th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. All members are welcome.
Rob Masonis, VP of Western Conservation, will be on hand for some opening words.
The meeting will run from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Please RSVP if staying for lunch;
Fall is upon us and if you are like other leaders, means getting back to chapter meetings, future planning and 'what's going on'.
Tonight, 9/15, is a webinar/training on new council leader duties that I hear is pretty good insight for future leaders.
We are still in the hunt for TUCA Executive positions of chair, vice chair and treasurer so, if we have contacted you, please consider taking a role on the overall team and/or tuning into this webinar.
Remember also, the close of everyone's fiscal year is Sept. 30, so please get a start on compiling volunteer hours for both the chapter and, as applicable, to the council, broken down by Protect, Reconnect, Restore and Sustain. Please forward your council hours to Jim Sikora, Treasurer. These TUCA hours may include volunteer efforts on Slinkard and Silver Creek (Restore), conference calls (Sustain), why TU/new chapters development & travel (Sustain), etc.
Great article from the San Diego News about our former TU California Director Chuck Bonham (now Director of California Fish and Game). Chuck sums it up nicely and succinctly with this quote: "If you take care of the fish, fishing will follow. Same thing with hunting. If you take care of the game, hunting will follow. And this is the Department that has that obligation.”